Chris Cox: Fatal Distraction, at New Greenham Arts on Friday, October 7
I’M a sucker for a freebie, but I’d like to make it clear that the free “I Love Cox” button badge given to me will not be influencing this review. They were given out to the entire audience, and it would have been churlish to refuse. Anyway, I don’t think us Newbury Weekly News reviews have a “declared interests” obligation - if we did, I would also have to admit that my sister was one of the audience members selected to participate in the show. Chris Cox did indeed read her mind magnificently - but then, I consider her particular easy to read. I’ve been able to do it for years.
Oh yes, and I got a hug from Cox after the show. But in no way does a hug from a handsome young man implant in me the urge to write a positive review. Promise. The thoughts below are all my own... I think.
“A mind reader who can’t read minds” (also a BBC Radio 1 producer - and still in his 20s), Cox’s show had a lovely conceit, built around the poignant tale of a girlfriend found by fate and lost by harsh reality, with many of his tricks allowing audience members to build up a picture of his dream girl as his performance progressed. Often items from a cluttered bookcase were used in the act - but I’m sure that some of them were there to influence our train of thoughts during the show, and possibly into the future (since Friday I have had an unexplainable urge to see the RSC production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda).
The problem with writing about magic-style acts early on in their tour, particularly with local-ish dates to come (Swindon Arts Centre on November 12 and the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot on November 25) is that revealing too much about the performance could spoil things for readers spurred on by a glowing review to book tickets. So to a certain extent, you’ll have to trust me on this. Cox is fab. Slick, charismatic, confident and extremely likeable. Think about what Derren Brown might do if he had a smaller stage and a broken heart.
Oh yes, I think I can safely mention that prior to the show Cox had memorised last week’s edition of the Newbury Weekly News in its entirety, proved by audience members calling out page numbers. I’m not sure even our illustrious editor would be able to pull that one off (go on Brien, tell us what’s on page 44).
I for one will be wearing my “I Love Cox” badge with pride, and it is entirely my own choice to do so. I think.
- First published in Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, October 13, 2011